In all honesty, this week’s column was written in a hurry. I just found out the McRib is back, so if you need me, you know where I’ll be. But first, Thursday night’s game featured another injury to a marquee player, as Seattle lost Richard Sherman for the year.
When your favorite team loses a player, it’s a bad season. And every football season is bad for somebody.
But this year, my friends? This one may be the worst yet.
We’re about halfway through and we’ve already lost great quarterbacks, both veterans and rookies. Rodgers, Luck, Palmer, Tannehill and Watson are gone. Skill position players from our fantasy teams like Odell Beckham, David Johnson, Greg Olsen and Julian Edelman are out. Defensive All-Pro types we’re lucky to be able to watch in their primes like J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus, Eric Berry and Richard Sherman are done for the year. Even Joe Thomas, who had taken more than 10 thousand straight snaps for the Browns, gets an injury that takes him off the board.
When someone says that NFL athletes are overpaid, these are the moments I think of. In baseball, where a blister is a significant injury, players sign ridiculous contracts and get paid every single cent of them, no matter what happens. Bobby Bonilla picks up a check for more than a million dollars every single Fourth of July weekend from the Mets until 2035, and no one seems to mind.
Not in football. Most of the players I’ve mentioned are out for the year. And if they’re out for next year, they’ll most likely get cut, and their contracts aren’t worth napkins at that point.
Past the individual problems, when those stars are out, the league suffers. The product diminishes. And suddenly I’m stuck watching a Giants game that looks like a commercial for some local pizza place where Eli Manning is trying to throw the ball to random blue jerseys with fake names on the back of them.
On to the picks. Thursday night, I had Seattle and six points at Arizona. Although I was right on the game, the 22-16 final score means I had a tie, or as we know it in gambling terms, a “push.” They call it that because they just “push” your money back to you, and you “push” yourself away from the table and go to the bar, where you “push” your money to the bartender and sit in sorrow while you think about how just one more point could have made you a big winner this week.
I’m now 27-25 straight up and 19-31-3 picking against the Vegas odds. Here’s my week 10 picks. These are for the purposes of discussion only, and based on this season, you’re far better off picking against me. As always, no wagering.
Dallas (plus 3) at Atlanta: That “Super Bowl hangover” for the Falcons is looking more like a “still drunk from the preseason.”
Pick: Cowboys to win it outright.
Houston (plus 11) at L.A. Rams: The drop off from Deshaun Watson to Tom Savage is so extreme, I’d wait in line for two hours if it was a Six Flags ride.
Pick: Rams to win and cover, winning by more than 11 points.
Cincinnati (plus 4.5) at Tennessee: Say what you will about A.J. Green, but he seems to have a future in MMA after his football career ends. I’ve seen pushing and shoving and an occasional punch, but I’ve never seen a guy in football pads apply a rear naked choke to his opponent.
Pick: Bengals to win it outright.
N.Y. Jets (-2.5) at Tampa Bay: Jameis Winston needs some time off to Google “How to give a good pregame speech,” if nothing else.
Pick: Jets to win and cover, winning by three or more.
Pittsburgh (minus 10) at Indianapolis: The Steelers are running Le’Veon Bell like a rental car they’ve bought the insurance on.
Pick: Steelers to win, Colts to cover, which means I think Pittsburgh wins by less than ten.
N.Y. Giants (minus 2.5) at San Francisco: This one is my sleeper pick of the week. By that I mean if you make me watch it, I’ll fall asleep.
Pick: I honestly wish one of you would volunteer in tribute so I didn’t have to pay attention to it, but I’ll begrudgingly take the Giants to win and cover, wining by three or more.
I’ll also take the Browns to lose again, the Saints to win, and Tony Romo’s broadcast career over Deion Sanders.
Seriously, calm down, Prime Time. No one doubts your playing career, and it was better than Romo’s. You were still the greatest cover cornerback ever, but face it, Romo was right. The only time you ever hit anybody was when you had that slapfight with Andre Rison.
Good luck everybody.
Reid Kerr talks a lot, as his wife always reminds him. Reid’s second book, “I Hate It Here: A Love Story,” is out now on Amazon.com. You can always tweet questions, comments, and angry messages to him at @reidaboutit.